The London Borough of Bexley is one of the easternmost governmental organizations that is still part of Greater London. It was an ancient parish that was part of the County of Kent and became its own borough when the Greater London Council was formed in 1965. Home to munitions factories during World War II, it experienced a population boom after peace was achieved and today still serves as a bedroom community for Greater London. Of course, its history means there are still many things to see and do here. We’ve outlined our ten favorites below and you can let us know your own Bexley hot spots.
If you need a drink, why not visit Bexley Brewery and wet your whistle while supporting this local small brewery. Bexley Brewery is the first brewery to exist in the borough since Refells Bexley brewery closed in 1956. The brewery hosts a Tour, Talk, and Tasting twice a month that you’ll have to book a ticket for if you want to visit, although you can also buy directly from them anytime.
If you’re looking for a place to shoot a few balls while you’re in London, Bexley certainly has its share of golf courses. There are more than a half-dozen courses throughout the borough from the Royal Blackheath Golf Club to Barnehurst Golf Club. Each has its own amenities, though they can vary from club to club, so be sure to check them out before you pack your bag.
Danson Splash Park and Playground
If the kids need to get some energy out of them, Danson Splash Park and Playground is a great place to run around. The splash park is open from May to September and features a variety of spray jets and water features that will keep your kids busy for hours. The playground is open year-round and has a snack stand as well as bathrooms.
One of the first historical structures to appear on this list, Severndroog Castle is actually a folly – a building constructed for purely ornamental reasons. It was designed by architect Richard Jupp in honor of Sir William James’s victory Survarnadurg (the spelling changed in English to Severndroog). Far from empty, there’s a café in the bottom floor and offers quite a view at the top.
Crossness Nature Reserve
Crossness Nature Reserve serves a valuable role in London’s ecosystem as part of the Erith Marshes Site of Metropolitan Importance for Nature Conservation. Managed by Thames Water, it’s one of the last grazing marshland sites in Greater London and helps to preserve the environment for the creatures that live there. The boardwalk will take you through the marshes and past several man-made habitats built to help everything from bats to fish thrive.
Hall Place House and Gardens
There are three stately homes on this list, so bear with us. The first up is Hall Place, a home built in 1537 for Sir John Champneys, the Lord Mayor of London. It was partly built from stone that was once part of Lesnes Abbey in the Tudor style. Today, it is open for tours and the gardens are worth perusing or stopping for tea at their café.
Crossness Pumping Station
You probably never thought you’d want to see a sewage pumping station, but Crossness Pumping Station needs to be on your list of London spots to visit. This might be due to the fact that it was designed by Joseph Bazalgette and Charles Henry Driver. It was instrumental in Bazalgette’s development of the London sewage system and the cleaning up of the Thames. It is also absolutely gorgeous on the inside and Grade I listed.
In the care of the National Trust, Red House was built from 1859-1860 by Phillip Webb and William Morris for Morris’s family. It stands out as being one of the primary examples of the Arts and Crafts movement in architecture that emphasized traditional craftsmanship and used medieval, romantic, and folk designs. Appropriately enough, the National Trust puts on art and design exhibits here as well as offering tours of the house.
Once the site of the Abbey of St. Mary and St. Thomas the Martyr at Lesnes, it was founded by Richard de Luci in 1178 as part of the penance for his role in the murder of Thomas Beckett. Unfortunatel,y it was not to last as Lesnes became one of the first casualties of the Dissolution of the Monasteries and was later pulled down and its stones repurposed (as with Hall Place previously). Today, the ruins and grounds are open to visitors to interact with history and the greenery surrounding the site.
Danson House and Park
Our top selection for Bexley is the lovely Georgian Mansion and surrounding parkland that is Danson House. The Grade I listed building was designed in the Palladian style by Sir Robert Taylor and is open every Sunday from 10:00 AM to 6:00 PM. The park, meanwhile, is Grade II listed and is large enough to include amenities such as a lake for sailing, fishing, and boating. If you see anything in Bexley, this needs to be your first stop.